Boarding Hacks for Cruising

Holidaying on a cruise ship is the ultimate getaway, with all you accommodation, entertainment, and food included. The only downfall is the boarding and departure procedure. This can be daunting for new travelers and easy to muddle up for excited seasoned travelers. When going on a cruise, there are the three stages to boarding that should be followed to ensure a stress-free start to your holiday.



Stage 1 – Before you leave


Embarkation Journey


This stage starts before you even leave for the ship. First, you should ensure you have all  necessary travel documentation (passport, visa, boarding paperwork) stored in a secure but easily accessible place. We recommend putting these items in your carry-on as it far easier to search a smaller bag than it is to search your entire suitcase in the middle of the terminal.


Cruise ships run on a tight schedule, so being aware of embarkation times! This allows you to plan travel times so you don’t end up watching your ship sail away while still standing in the terminal. Allowing extra time for delays in transportation, check in and peak arrival times will ensure you have an easier time boarding.




Knowing you are heading away for a holiday, the next thing to think about is “how am I getting to the cruise terminal?” Preparing your travel to the ship should be a main priority, consider the options that work best for you. These could be drop offs by family or friends, train services, shuttle services and private transfers, to ensure cost effective and time efficient arrivals. Booking your chosen transportation needs to be done in advance to ensure you get a seat and are able to arrive at the terminal in a timely manner.


Carry-On Prep


Packing your carry-on early lowers the chance of you forgetting something important. Your carry-on should have everything you need for the full day of travel. Think about what you may need for the first day/night on board, as you may not be able to access your main luggage until later in the evening. Carry-on items should include; all your  necessary boarding documentation, wallet, phone, keys, snacks, swimmers, spare clothes, sunscreen, book/entertainment for yourself or any children travelling with you, and any other valuables or items you may need.


Luggage Tags


Some cruise companies send out luggage tags before you depart for your holiday, while others give them to you at the terminal when you arrive, either way the tags should be connected to your luggage displaying your personal information. This information includes; the ship name, your name, your stateroom and number of bags you have checked in. Luggage tags are important to ensure the bags are not lost during boarding, either by yourself or the porter you left it with at luggage drop off.

Stage 2 – Arriving at the cruise terminal


When leaving your transportation, it is quite exciting to see the ship docked, double checking you have all your luggage and passengers before leaving your transportation saves a lot of hassle later. Then, head right on over to the luggage drop off area and if you haven’t already, get your luggage tags and put them on.


Luggage Drop-off

At the luggage drop off, you can either leave your luggage with the porters or decide take it onto the ship yourself. The advantages of a porter include; peace of mind while waiting in the terminal, bags are taken directly to your stateroom which may not be available when you first arrive on-board due to cleaning, ease for those not used to carrying/lifting heavy loads and mobility impaired as you may need to use the stairs if elevators are being used by the porters.


Check-in Queue

The next step, is to join the check in queue! Here you and your cabin mates will check in with staff and be asked to fill out a medical form to make sure no one has been ill in the weeks leading up the cruise. They will also take a photo of you that will be automatically added to your personalised key-card that is your identification, door key and credit card for all your on-board spending. If you have ordered any drinks packages, this will also be displayed here to ensure bar staff know what to or not to charge you for.


After check-in you will be directed to the waiting area, where your will join the rest of the people waiting to board the ship. Staff will call out groups which will then join another line to begin boarding onto the waiting ship. The waiting area is usually situated close to toilets and there is sometimes tea and coffee available, the wait may be awhile so having snacks and/or entertainment may be beneficial if travelling with children.

Stage 3 – Boarding procedure


Stage three begins once your number to board has been called. As you go, you will be asked to have group or solo photos taken with your companions against a backdrop, these photos are not necessary but if you choose to have them taken you can then decide to purchase them later while on board.


After photos you will be asked to put your remaining luggage, jewellery, phones etc. through the x-ray machine. While your luggage is checked, you will have to walk through a security detector to make sure no one is smuggling anything they shouldn’t on-board. Once approved you and your companions can take your items back and proceed onto the gangway.


On your way up the gangway you are likely to have your key-card checked at least once before reaching the entrance to the ship. The most likely place to arrive is the atrium. Here you will be able to go to the front desk or a kiosk to add money to your on-board spending account. You can proceed to your stateroom, a dining room or buffet for lunch, or the pool area.

Airport & Cruise Transfers


Newcastle Connections specializes in Airport and Cruise Transfers from anywhere around The Hunter. Our team minimises your travel disturbances and taking the guess work out of your travel schedule. This service is shared with multiple clients, who are all after the same thing; hassle-free travel at the best price. Our shuttle schedule ensures minimal disruptions, with our drivers outlining passenger drop off order once all are boarded. We offer comparative prices for your preferred travel schedule and agenda. Seeing you arrive safe at your final destination is our number one priority. We deliver an exceptional service to our wide range of clientele, with experienced drivers in our up-to-date fleet to meet any travel needs.